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Ernest Morphy

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Ernest Morphy was Paul Morphy's uncle.

Ernest Morphy was also probably young Paul's greatest admirer.

Besides sending Paul's games (and his only chess problem) to various publications, in Europe as well as in America, Ernest also tried to arrange matches with the best chess players in America, though to no avail.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper in its August 30, 1856 issue wrote:

CHESS CHALLENGE EXTRAORDINARY.             --- Mr. Ernest Morphy of Moscow, Claremont County, Ohio, [Ernest lived in Ohio for a period of time] a very strong player and one of the most masterly analysts in this or any country, has written a private letter to a friend in this city, saying that he is desirous to get up a match, between the 1st and 31st of January next in New Orleans between his nephew, Paul Morphy, (as he writes, incontestably the superior of himself or Rousseau and who holds the sceptre of chess in New Orleans) and Mr. Stanley or Marache (and we presume any other players in the country) for $300 a side -- $100 to go to the loser (if Paul wins) to pay the expenses of the journey to New Orleans. Mr. James McConnell, attorney at law, New Orleans or Paul Morphy himself, may be written in regard to it. The proposition emanates from  Mr. Ernest Morphy,  who subscribes the $50 towards the purse. 

 

Below are some excerpts from several publications in 1874, the year Ernest Morphy died, while further down is an excerpt from a 1873 edition of the Dubuqe Chess Journal which featured Ernest Morphy and discusses his book, Logic of Openings, which he apparently never finished before his death the following year. That article ended with 6 games of Ernest Morphy, 5 of which I had never seen referenced before and are probably not to be seen elsewhere. The one game, the first one listed, is a commonly seen game between Dr. A. P. Ford and Ernest Morphy. The reason for this is that Philip Sergeant, in his book Morphy's Games of Chess, erroneously gave it as a Paul Morphy blindfold game.

But first here are several games between Paul and Ernest Morphy -

 

 

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 Ernest Morphy     

 Ernest Morphy    

 

Westminster Papers: A Monthly Journal of Chess, Whist, Games of Skill. 1874.


   The death of Mr. Ernest Morphy, uncle of Paul Morphy, and himself a distinguished Chess player and analyst, is announced in the American Chess columns. Mr. Morphy died on the 7th March last, in the 67th year of his age. The following brief sketch of the deceased gentleman's career was contributed by his friend, General Tillson, to the Chess Record of Philadelphia.
   American Chess will miss, and mourn, a noted votary—Ernest Morphy, who died at his residence at Quincy, Illinois, on the 7th of March last. Mr. Morphy was born at Charleston, S.C., 22nd Nov. 1807.

   His father, Don Diego Morphy, was the Spanish Consul at that port, his mother was a French lady. In 1809 his father was transferred to New Orleans, where he permanently remained, and the subject of this sketch was raised and resided there until 1854, when he removed to Cincinnati, O., and two years after to Quincy Ill. His earlier family was Irish, the name of an ancestor, Murphy—a captain in the Spanish Royal Guard—having been changed to Morphy by Castilian tongues, and this spelling was retained. For over forty years Morphy's name has stood among the first in the Chess world. The compeer of Stanley, Rosseau [Rousseau], Schulten, Dudley, Kennicot, Sullivan, Turner, and all the leading players of the last generation. Second to Rosseau in his great match with Stanley, in 1843, for the American championship, he very nearly became the representative of Southern Chess, instead of Mr. Rosseau.  [Eugène Marsille Rousseau] The latter, it is well known, was enfeebled by sickness, below his proper force, which was so evident in the practice games played by him with Morphy that friends urged the substitution (their best play being so equal), but Mr. R.'s pride would not consent. The same result might have followed, but not so decisively. No player has left a better record of good games—of, at all times strong, accurate, even high play. Rarely what is called brilliant, he could dare, if he chose, and when he did, he most admirably, in play, adhered to a favourite maxim, " Never dodge your own errors."  If you find a line of play defective, generally, far better to stick to it than attempt correction. It is like changing front in the heat of battle. Later in life his interest in Chess, which never abated, led him to the analysis of the game, in which department we doubt if the country possessed his superior.
   But space cannot be given for the mention of his merits as a player, and they are known beside. It is pleasure to speak of him as the finished, courteous, considerate gentleman. Never ruffled, never weary, it was as great a satisfaction to be beaten by him as to win. And in the more important bearings of life, he carried the same graceful and admitted claim to the title of a true and honest gentleman.  

 

 

The City of London chess magazine, 1874. ed. W. N. Potter

Mr. Ernest Morphy, uncle of Paul Morphy, died suddenly, from an apoplectic stroke at Quincy, Illinois, U.S.A. on the 7th of March .... in his 67th year.  Praise of the deceased gentleman comes in from all quarters.  That he was a player of the first rank is well known in the Chess world, and he showed himself almost, if not quite equal to Rosseau [sic] as the representative of the players of the Southern states of America, but the transcendant abilities of his celebrated nephew threw all transatlantic Chess reputations into the sahde, and the deceased having nutured his relative's budding genius had, like others, to retire into the second place.  It is something to be a fine Chess player, it is much more to be a well conducted member of society, leading a stainless life, and taking part in every good work.  Such an [sic] one was Ernest Morphy, if we may give him credit to certain resolutions of respect passed upon the occasion of his death by his co-religionists (he was Roman Catholic) at Quincy. These resolutions will be found in extenso in the Dubuque Journal for April.

 

Dubuque Chess Journal April, 1874.

Died at Quincy, Illinois, on the 7th of March, of apoplexy, ERNEST MORPHY. The following from a local newspaper expresses the universal grief of all who knew him:
     Alas! that he who penned the kind-hearted lines to us on the 28th of 

     Feb., should ere eight days, have passed from earth forever away :

 

     IN MEMORIAM

Resolutions of Respect at the Death of Ernest Morphy.

 

A special meeting of the members of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, and various societies connected with the same was held on Sunday last, to take action in regard to the death of their lamented fellow member, Ernest Morphy. After appropriate remarks by the Pastor Father McGirr and others, the following resolutions were adopted:
   Resolved, That it is with feelings of the deepest sadness and regret this congregation mourn the death of their most valued friend and fellow-member, the late Ernest Morphy, a most worthy Christian gentleman, whose unassuming piety and edifying life has made him for many years a shining example for their imitation, and to whose munificent donations, wise counsels and faithful supervision they feel they are in a very large measure indebted for their present new church, and therefore eminently entitled to be enrolled among "those benefactors who have so laudably witnessed their zeal for the decency of Divine worship, and proved their claim to our most grateful and charitable remembrance."


   Resolved, That the various societies of this church, of which he ever was an active and zealous member, have lost in him a generous friend as well as a most worthy associate, whose vacant place can never be filled and whose memory will ever be most warmly cherished, and that as a mark of their respect they will attend the funeral in a body.


   Resolved, That the members of this congregation collectively tender their deepest and most respectful sympathies to the afflicted family of the deceased, earnestly beseeching in their behalf all the consolations
of Divine Providence in theirsad bereavement, and assuring them that the deep debt of gratitude they owe to his most liberal, long-continued and ever disinterested services in their behalf will never be forgotten by the people of St. Peter's congregation."

 

Dubuque Chess Journal 1873.


   Ernest Morphy was born at Charleston South Carolina,, on the 22nd of Nov. 1807. His father was Don Diego Morphy, Spanish Consul for that port, and his mother, a French lady, nee Louise Peire, Two years later his father having been promoted to the more profitable consulate of New Orleans, removed
with all his family to the Cresent City.
   Ernest Morphy's powers as a chess-player were fully established about the year1840, by the publication of several of his games in the serials of that time. , Since then he has contributed games and articles successively to Le Palemede, New .York Chess Monthly,La Nouvelle Régence, Le Sphinx, and quite recently to La-Strategie.
   It is now a fact, belonging to the history of Chess in America, that in 1847 he had the honor of expounding the principles of the Openings to his nephew, Paul Morphy, who  so well profited by these lessons, that he soon defeated — one after the other - the three players then reigning supreme in the New Orleans Chess Club, Eugene Rousseau, Ernest Morphy and A. P. Ford.
   In 1854, Mr. E. Morphy left New Orleans sojourned two years in Ohio, and finally settled in Quincy, Illinois, where we believe, he intends to spend the remainder of his days in peaceful retirement.
   But who ever knew a true lover ot Caissa to indulge in complete repose? Through the interesting columns of the Chess Record, we find that the veteran is actually engaged in publishing the results of his mature reflections on the openings of our noble game. At his hands the subject is treated in a manner at once novel and inviting, for it does away with that great multitude of superfluous book digressions, which ouly serve to throw confusion into the analyses.
   His LOGIC OF THE OPENINGS straightway gives to the student a distinct appreciation of the resources, first, as the attacking party and, next — as to the defence when in the position of second player.
   Mr. Morphy has also introduced a great improvement on the old-fashioned notation of many writers; e. g.
      SIGNS FOR THE PIECES:
Call
     K - King.            Q - Queen.
     B - K's Bishop.  b - Q's Bishop. 
     C - K's Knight.   c - Q's Knight.
     R - K's Rook.     r - Q's Rook.
     Signs for the moves:
   x means take     means check.
     Signs for the results
   = equal opening   >  better opening
   ad.  advantage     W  wins.
   m3   mates in three moves.
 

He regards the above as being in fact the English Notation with the only salient difference of the sign C, instead of Kt, for the piece Knight; the old appellation -KNIGHT-  being retained . . . the sign C is appropriate since Cavalier is an English word synonymous with Knight, that it avoids the repetition of two K's to designate the King and the Knight; moreover that the sign C corresponds also to the Italian CAVALLO, to the Spanish CAVALLERO, to the French CAVALIER, to the Portuguese CAVALLEIRO, etc.
   According to private correspondence between Mr M. and ourself, it appears that the theoretical department is to be followed by Games, Notes and Synopses, a supplement designed to introduce numerous attacks and defences inconsistant with the plan of the LOGIC, but nevertheless of much interest to the proficient amateur, in that he may resort to them on certain occasions. For example he can depart from the COUP JUSTE whenever his vis-a-vis shall prove, even very slightly unequal to him either in invention, or depth of purpose, or again in coolness of nerve, all qualities so indispensible in the combinations of the middle game.
   We give a few of Ernest Morphy's games contested at different periods of his life.

 

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Comments


  • 9 months ago

    HonzaZvolsky

    What a mate!:o)

  • 7 years ago

    batgirl

    13. exf7+ Kd7  14. Be6+  Kc6  15. Ne5+ Kb5  16. Bc4+ Ka4  17. axb3+  Ka5  18. Bb4#
  • 7 years ago

    seminoleman

    Ernest Morphy vs. P. Shaub
    Casual Game / Dubuque Chess Journal
    1862
    1-0
    i dont understand i do not see the mate in 6 can someone fill in the blanks for me please.
  • 7 years ago

    kenytiger

    Thanks Batgirl, that sure helped and cleared a lot of things.
  • 7 years ago

    batgirl

    Those are big questions and the answers, I think, are often misleading.

    In the 1840's, Howard Staunton gained a deserved reputation as probably the strongest in London, and therefore England. Since he didn't start playing seriously until around 1835, he was a pretty quick study. In 1840, he beat H. W. Popert, a German ex-patriot, who was considered the man-to-beat in London. Various sources list the result of their match as Staunton +10-5=6 to Staunton winning by the odd game. As the recognized leader of London chess, Staunton began dabbling in chess journalism. Staunton was never one to avoid self-aggrandizing and his chess columns gave him the perfect vehicle for this. In 1843, he played, and lost, a short match with St.-Amant, the recognized (by some, not all) French champion, in London. On the basis of this, Staunton challenged St.-Amant to a lengthy, more serious, match at high stakes.  St.-Amant accepted and Stanton won that match which took place at the Cafe de la Regence in Paris.  This was not a match for the world Championship and was never considered to be by either players. However, it was a national battle and the British vs French aspect was played up. After this Staunton was considered England's champion by most. The entire idea of World Champion didn't even exist in those days... not in any sport. There were very few countries that even had national chess organizations. England did, France didn't, American didn't -so, even for countries to have a recognized "national" champion was a rarity.  In 1851 London hosted the 1st International tournament, organized by Staunton. Staunton didn't do well in the tournament which Anderssen won.  As a knock-out tounament, winning was as much a matter of chance as skill, but Anderssen is often considered "world champion" based on this one International tournament.  While the claim has more merit than one for Staunton, it's still pretty weak.

    Then Staunton more or less sulked and wrote about chess and played games at odds (possibly not wanting to lose to anyone on even terms and losing credibility in the process). Then in 1858 Morphy came along. Morphy's chess friends sent Staunton a challenge to come to America and play Morphy. Staunton refused since he had other commitments, plus he thought it was bad form for a challenger to expect a "champion" to do the traveling. He had a good point. He also seemingly, though not expressly, implied that if Morphy saw fit to come to England, they'd play. Morphy, who hadn't entertained traveling to Europe until the following year, suddenly was able to go and showed up almost unexpectedly and with little notice. Meeting Staunton for the first time, he reminded him of the letter and renewed the challenge in person. Staunton was ambiguous. Meanwhile Morphy started a series of games vs Barnes. In the first dozen games, Morphy and Barnes traded games and most people believe that Staunton saw this as a sign of Morphy's weakness, a big American fish from the little American chess pond, now swimming among sharks. At that point he accepted the challenge but asked for some time to "brush up on my openings and endings." Morphy of course agreed... then prompty started winning game after game after game against Barnes... and against everyone he played, almost never drawing, hardly ever losing.  Staunton, when the month passed, put Morphy off, then put him off again. Finally, Morphy, in front of highly regarded witnesses, flat out asked him he he ever intended to play and if so, set a definite date. Staunton had no choice but to set a date, 2 months in advance. Morphy, whose limited time was being frittered away, left for Paris where he beat Harrwitz, one of the strongest known players. As the impending match with Staunton approached, Staunton sent a letter finally backing out of the match.

    Was it fear on Staunton part? I don't think so. At least not fear of losing to Morphy, but maybe fear of what he probably thought of as the humiliation in losing such a match badly. Staunton's tragic flaw was never cowardice, but rather pride.

    So, in a nutshell, Staunton was never, in my opinion, a world champion by any measure. However, he is commonly listed as one of the "unofficial world champions. "  (unofficial= someone's or other's opinion). And Staunton, in my opinion, was never afraid of Morphy, but was terrified of public opinion.

     

    I hope this helps. I'm also sure a lot of folks might disagree with my assessments.

  • 7 years ago

    kenytiger

    It looks like Ernest was nobody to mess with, like his nephew. Question Batgirl: Was Howard Staunton the World Champion back in those days? I always hear that Steinitz was the first World Champion. As far as I understand, Staunton never wanted to play Paul Morphy in a match because he was afraid of him, is that correct?
  • 7 years ago

    unclemike

    These games are replete with sheer genius.  Love all of them. It's the second one that leaves me a bit mystified. I don't see the obvious continuation.
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